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Pedestrian killed at San Antonio Caltrain station

Original post made on Dec 24, 2009

A male pedestrian was struck and killed by a southbound Caltrain at the San Antonio station in Mountain View Wednesday evening, a transit agency spokeswoman said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 24, 2009, 8:55 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by sad teenager.
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:16 am

Will a name or general age be announced? I've lost so many people this year, I need to know If I lost another.

Posted by Irvin
a resident of University South
on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

Daily Post (Thurs) reports he was 'elderly' and coroner hasn't released name because his family wasn't notified. That fatality occurred Weds. On Tues, an errant motorist took a right turn onto the tracks in San Mateo (Bellvue Av) but had the good sense to escape the SUV prior to impact. Last Weds, a transient apparently chose the San Mateo Caltrain station to "commit suicide by train".

Much too early to speculate on whether San Antonio death was intentional or negligence (standing too close to tracks)as that train speeds through station (expresses) and it really is important to 'stand back'.

Posted by Joyce
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

Isn't it high time to work on Grade separation and make tracks safer? We, Silicon valley is the high tech city for the whole world and here we are with the Caltrain and news making tracks!

Sadly, so many people have lost their lives and what are we doing? JUST WATCHING more and more people get killed :-( really really sad!!

We have enormous amount of money $$$ to send soldiers to war and fund rebuilding foreign countries for the damages our military does, but have no money or time or patience to fix our own backyard.

Wake up and hear RR bells!!

Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

First, the San Antonio incident occurred at the train station, not at a road crossing, so grade separations would have no effect in that case.

If you are interested in grade separations, that is part of the proposed HSR project. However, certain NIMBY groups are working hard to block or stall HSR. If you disagree with them, then speak up.

Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

SFGate is reporting he jumped.

Web Link

Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:13 am

Another day, another Caltrain accident. Why do we continue making it easy for pedestrians and cars to have access to the tracks, ruining lives and the commutes of thousands, so that there's minimal disturbance to your property values.

Grade separation will help, not hurt this town. Please, please, please, please grade separate Caltrain. And while we're at, add two tracks for HSR :)

Posted by Sad mother
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:14 am

To sad teenager,
I am sad too. As soon as I heard about the incident, I really hope it is not a young person. At least they said it is a man. I still feel bad about it, but at least you teenagers are not going to loose more classmates or schoolmates again. We parents are trying to do everything we can so no other young person dies by watching the tracks. The main thing I do this for is so you know that we love you and we care. Please try to heal. Love a Gunn Parent

Posted by Fritz
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:26 am

You can watch people running around the stop arms any night you want about 6:00 pm on Castro. Between the people that cross against the lights, and the ones who don't think that right of way rules are for them, it makes it impossible for me to worry to much about people who can't figure out a "Don't Walk" sign, and a 45 foot baricade across their lane. Changeing road bed elevations,building barricades across the Golden gate, and all the rest of these solutions are a waste of effort and funds. If you want to post some cops and start writing some citations, you might achieve some success.

Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:31 am

There are plenty of ways to commit suicide. Don't blame the trains. If a person wants suicide, they'll find it. Parents need to be more emotionally attached to their children and pro-active instead of hoping things will work out.

Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

To Been There,
Just like you do not want to blame the trains, you can't blame the parents, because you do not have proof that the parents of the children involved in the past incidents were not pro-active, and were just hoping things will work out for their children. I know two of them and they were very loving and active, I bet they were more active than you if you have kids. How would you feel if your child gets dies on the tracks and you have done everything you can to make the school and world a better place for your child, and someone likes you comes and blames you? If you do not blame the trains, you do not blame the parents.

Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Gunn Parent,

No one knows what occurs in another's household. Perception is one thing, reality is another. There are plenty of families which seem peachy-keen in public but it's a different story in reality that no one knows about besides the family. Sure, others see the parent participation, the parents seem like really nice people, etc. But that's not necessarily reality. Let's just say that parents do the best of their capabilities, whether good or not. It's still painful to lose a child.

I still stand by my statement that blocking the tracks is not the solution.

You just made a huge assumption about my parenting and you do not even know me. Nice.

Posted by ...
a resident of Los Altos
on Dec 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I love how Mountain View's website has made no mention of this, yet Palo Alto is all over it.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Is this the same incident?

Web Link

It's not about "blaming" the trains or "blaming" the parents....or at least it shouldn't be.

The fact is that we have a suicide cluster at Gunn (and a few years back at Paly a couple students committed suicide) which is being addressed. The tracks are a "natural" attractant for a suicide cluster to develop around. This isn't blaming anything just acknowledging a reality. Like Hoover Tower of years past. Eventually they put up a barrier.

I think when we are discussing suicide we need to take a deep breath and make sure we aren't just sounding off and using the tragedy to sound off about whatever ax we want to use it for.

Both sides of the HSR should leave this out of the issue. Even assuming a HSR would solve the magnet problem, addressing this issue adequately can't wait for all that approval and new construction.

But I find the comments by "Ben There" to be particularly obnoxious and self-trumpeting. I don't care how good or bad a parent you are, but you seem to first want to blame the parents and then reinforce it with innuendo and aspersions.

I don't even know you. I consider myself lucky.

Posted by Sammy
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:22 pm

It was a 26 year old Mt. View man and it was confirmed a suicide by people on the platform.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2009 at 12:09 am

Mercury-News has identified the victim as a 26-year-old Mountain View resident: Web Link

Posted by student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 25, 2009 at 1:34 am

I think some sort of barrier would make it less tempting. It's just too fast and to easy...

Posted by Other issues
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:00 am

In Japan:
bad economy => desperation => suicides
Is this true in US?
Maybe financial counseling could help.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2009 at 10:07 am

I think the media frenzy over train suicides just encourages more train suicides.
The solution has to be through easier access to counseling and mental health programs.

Posted by Irvin
a resident of University South
on Dec 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm

I asked a conductor about it - he said that during the holidays - suicides increase for obvious reasons. As others have mentioned, this one occurred within station area, so it will be difficult to prevent. However, it does bring up an interesting question - how will suicides affect HSR?

I do agree with the need for grade-separations as much as possible - it would have prevented the 4 Gunn suicides that took place at a crossing, and Weds' auto crash (driver negligence).

If Peninsula residents could organize to improve Caltrain and the adjacent communities with grade seps', like those who have organized to fight the HSR project, I think progress would be faster.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm

HSR stations (and Caltrain stations that are retrofitted to support HSR) will probably have sliding doors between the passenger waiting area and the trains. The doors will only open when the train is stopped. Many modern subway systems around the world have these doors as well.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I find it interesting that the public seems to care much more about teens who throw themselves on the tracks than adults, even those who are in their twenties. Is that because the adults are not seen as connected to a community in the same way that the students are part of the Gunn community or Paly community? Possibly that's one of the reasons they felt like ending their lives. Suicide at any age is sad.

Posted by track watch volunteer
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 27, 2009 at 7:07 am

The human brain is not fully developed until the human reaches their mid-twenties "the greatest changes to the parts of the brain that are responsible for functions such as self-control, judgment, emotions, and organization occur between puberty and adulthood."

That is one factor that makes the suicides of teens and young adults so tragic. The other is that no parent should ever have to live through losing a child at any age or by any means. It is not the natural order of things.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 27, 2009 at 8:15 am

To Jo Ann,

I think that it is just a fact of human nature that, when a tragedy strikes, people feel more comfortable dealing with it the more they can distance themselves from the specifics of either the person injured or killed, or the true impact.

You hear that someone has shot a bunch of school kids on a playground. Tragic, but internally people probably feel a bit more "relieved" when they hear that the victims weren't of their race, ethnicity, or nation. When the bombs went of on the English buses there was such a big uproar in this country--- even though in India it's a regular occurrence.

Or a person becomes paralyzed and we all love those stories of them climbing Mt. Everest.....anything but the true daily grind they have to go through.

In this case yes I imagine that there wss some relief felt that the person who committed suicide wasn't a Gunn student. And furhter distancing available for some due to the hispanic name.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:59 am

For those who think that building grade separation is the answer to train suicide; deterring people from committing suicide
must cover a lot more than just trains, or the Golden Gate.

Billions can be spent on grade separation resulting in train riders and taxpayers footing enormous new expenditures. And a few determined-to-die individuals will simply find another way to do themselves in.

Childproofing the whole world is going to be an enormous undertaking.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm


You're exactly right. There will always be dangers and temptations for some sad souls and that is a terrible pity. But is it up to society to spend money that doesn't always exist (especially today) to make the world safe for those who make tragic decisions? I think not.

Posted by Realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Look at it another way. A stupid individual tried to blow up a plane last week. Now we are all going to find more inconveniences and more security measures which are going to cost taxpayers and the flying public, money, time and invasions of privacy that we have to put up with. Why does it make sense to change the way millions of people fly in case a few individuals decide to do something horrific? The answer is the same as to why money should be spent to update our rail travel. Times have changed and unfortunately security and safety mean that money (we can't afford) has to be spent to make it harder for individuals determined to harm themselves, or others, to carry out their intentions.

Posted by Alejandro's former friend
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:15 am

The fact is. Alejandro had a very difficult life and although I had not seen him for a long time. I knew the kid had plenty of demons that hunted him. Someone here posted that we should set up better security barriers, but the truth is that we cannot seran wrap people to keep them safe. If death is what they truly want, they will find it. No one is to blame. Some say suicide is the easy way out, but I think it takes a lot of determination to jump in front of a moving train. Descansa en paz man.....

Posted by cb
a resident of Woodside
on Dec 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I knew the man. He was depressed which can be powerful. RIP Alex.

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